Muxima

Aljezur, Algarve, Portugal Book from Book from £77 per night

Go bush in Portugal at this North African inspired eco-retreat, a stone's throw from some of the country's finest beaches
Rustic and rural, this forest retreat was inspired by the spirit of the African continent - Muxima is Kimbundu, an Angolan dialect, for 'heart'. It could not have been more aptly named. This is a place that is infused with care and genuine eco leanings.

Two single-storey casas are wrapped within a 28-hectare strand of cork and eucalyptus forest, and wildflowers carpet the forest floor. The air is beautifully scented by the trees and the entire retreat is accessed via a winding, stoney track. Since our initial visit, numerous members of the i-escape team have opted to return summer after summer and every time we've been greeted with boundless energy from the friendly dogs, easy, gentle smiles from the staff and warming sun rays from the southern Portuguese sky. All of this sets the tone just perfectly: Muxima eschews hotel-like uniformity in favour of the homespun and the organic. Expect serenity, a spacious colourful room, a child-friendly ethic and an opportunity to really get back in touch with nature.

Highs

  • An eco-retreat with a genuine 'bush' feel - the eco-swimming pool comes complete with dragonflies, lily pads and lots of frogs
  • A great place for families; with play areas, animals and expansive space for exploring, plus owners Paula and Jelle have two sociable little ones who appreciate new playmates
  • As serene and bucolic a setting as you could hope to find, yet an easy drive from wonderful beaches and small towns
  • The chance for kids, and adults, to look to the forest and the beach for entertainment, rather than to TV
  • Great breakfasts held in a beach-shack-like casita, with stacks of local and homemade goodies

Lows

  • Not for those seeking luxury items: no iPod docks or flatscreen TVs, and WiFi in the guest lounge only. Of course, this will be a plus for some
  • Breakfast is the only meal on offer: you'll need to head down to Aljezur for other meals (or self-cater if you're in one of the suites)
  • Don't expect instant service but do count on TLC from your hosts
  • Reduced window openings are cool in summer but make the bedrooms quite dark - though each room boasts an expansive terrace

Best time to go

Muxima's proximity to the Atlantic means that they experience milder winters and cooler summers than further inland, providing you with a good base year round. That said, a strong wind can blow in from the ocean. During July and August, things get busy and local beaches are far more crowded, especially with surfers. In May, June, September and October you're bound to see plenty of sunshine and you just may get the sand all to yourself.

Our top tips

Look out for the beaches at the river estuary - accessible from Praia da Amoreira - where you'll find warm, gentle water and soft sand without the dangerous pull of the breakers on the larger surfer beaches.

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
Eco
Family
Great Outdoors
  • Boutique B&B
  • 7
  • Breakfast only
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Eira House

Rooms

Divided between Casa da Eira and Casa do Monte, each of the 7 guest rooms is named after the place from which its interiors come from. Expect patterned fabrics, local maps, bright colour schemes and decorative objects.

The original farmhouse, Casa da Eira, is a long building with thick outer walls made of the region's traditional taipa. Here you’ll find the 3 double rooms: Krabi, Citrana and Zammour. During our latest revisit, we stayed in Citrana, and loved the terracotta-coloured bathroom, oversized wicker lampshades and large leather trunk. Each is big and airy, Zammour lacks a terrace, but Krabi and Citrana have gorgeous blue daybeds and views over the forest.

The 4 suites have a separate living room with a sofa or mezzanine beds, and a private kitchenette. The largest suite - Mangalore - has space for up to 5 adults and is the only suite found in the Casa da Eira building.

The remaining 3 suites - Chaouen, Tissamaharama and Sotouboua - are found in Casa do Monte, which is located a few hundred metres further into the forest, on top of a hill and thus boasting breathtaking views of the valley. We have happily resided in the Chaouen Suite before and were charmed by the Moroccan lanterns and ornately painted shutters. Also, our toddler loved being able to clamber onto the low daybeds in the living room. We really enjoyed the sense of peace and escapism, but it could feel isolated for folk who prefer plenty of company.

Whichever option you choose, you’ll get a private entrance and a slice of terrace with comfy cane seating and heather blinds for shade. Polished concrete floors hide surprisingly effective solar-generated underfloor heating, and those thick outer walls mean that even in the height of summer a fan alone will keep you cool.

All rooms are spotlessly clean and have decent-sized shower rooms. Freestanding sinks are set into shiny screed surfaces and there’s a simple hanging rack for your towels. You’ll also get organic handmade soap, full of local herbs and essential oils.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Honesty bar
  • Slippers
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Just beneath the main house, the breakfast casita is the epitome of 'going bush' at Muxima. Resembling a breezy beach shack with views out across the valley, it has low adobe walls, a corrugated tin roof with heather matting, and wooden shutters which can be dropped down according to the season.

A big buffet breakfast is laid up along its wooden counter and small tables are painted in bright, cheerful colours. It’s a wonderfully sociable affair, where guests often sit and chat for hours over fresh local bread, homemade jams, cheeses, yoghurts, fresh fruit, olives and hummus. Each day there’s a different (and delicious) homemade cake. We enjoyed orange and sage cake during our latest stay. This is the time to talk to Paula and Jelle about the day ahead; they are always generous with their time.

If you've booked a suite you may choose to make use of its small kitchenette. Simply equipped with pots and pans, crockery, a small fridge, an electric hob, a juicer, a microwave and a mini dishwasher - perfect for families needing to feed babies and kids on demand.

Otherwise, you'll need to drive for lunch and dinner. Aljezur is less than 5 minutes away and has a local food market, a large supermarket and various eateries. This attractive small town has a huge ex-pat population (about a third!) so expect to hear a good deal of English being spoken.

Paula and Jelle's restaurant recommendations include Pont a Pé (in the centre of Aljezur) for traditional Alentejo cooking with friendly owners and welcoming prices, and veggie bistro MO (also in Aljezur), offering hearty, healthy vegan and veggie dishes to keep the hungriest of surfers satisfied. We enjoyed a romantic meal at VÁRZEA, and Arte Bianca is great for tasty takeaway pizzas.

If you're wondering where you'll get a pre- or post-dinner tipple, worry not. Muxima's honesty bar provides the perfect excuse to watch day turn to dusk on your terrace.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Children's meals
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
Eating: Mangalore Suite
Activity: Amoreira Beach

Activities

  • Enjoy the tranquillity of this beautiful retreat: swim in the eco-pool, arrange a massage or seek out one of the many benches and hammocks hidden among the trees

  • Grab a mountain bike and explore the 28 hectares of forest, or simply don your walking boots

  • Kick back on the beautiful sandy beach at Amoreira. It sits at the mouth of a river, so there are calm shallows and rock pools for little ones, as well as great surfing conditions for older kids. While you’re there, treat yourself to a fish lunch at the Taberna do Gabriel

  • You can also watch the surfers and windsurfers ride the waves at Monte Clerigo; lessons are available for the uninitiated

  • Birdwatch: there are masses of feathered things in the forests surrounding the farm and the breakfast casita makes a perfect hide at dawn or dusk

  • Across the main highway is the Southwest Algarvian Natural Park and the Vicentina Coast; host to 200 bird species and 750 known plant species, of which 46 are exclusively Portuguese with 10 endemics not found anywhere else in the world

  • Play a round of golf on one of the many courses at the western end of the Algarve: the nearest is 30km from Muxima

  • Within 5km of Muxima you can also go fishing, riding and diving (the B&B can arrange); a bit further afield are boat trips for dolphin watching

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Horse riding
  • Scuba diving
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Wildlife
  • Windsurfing

Kids

Paula and Jelle, who have 2 children themselves, are genuinely welcoming and love to have families here. High chairs and travel cots can be set up with ease. There's plenty to do on the farm and in the surrounding forest, before you even start exploring the nearby area and beaches. Kids will love it, whether they're learning to surf, visiting the resident donkey, playing in the Wendy house and the climbing frame, settling into the mezzanine beds or swimming in the eco-friendly pool.

The only extra cost to be aware of is the small supplement for extra beds and cots (see rates).

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

The suites have kitchenettes and plenty of space for extra guests, plus those in Casa do Monte offer added seclusion and privacy. We'd recommend the Tissamaharama and Chaouen suites (in Casa do Monte) for families with 1 or 2 children (they have space for 2 extra beds in the living room area). For those with 2 children or more, the Mangalore suite is the biggest overall and can hold a total of 3 extra beds. Note that all rooms have showers only, but baby baths are available on request.

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available on request with a Portuguese or English speaker (see rates).

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cot
  • High chair
  • Pram or pushchair to borrow
  • Night light
  • Baby bath
  • Potty

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

Each suite has a kitchenette complete with a microwave, a hob, a mini dishwasher, a small fridge and pots and pans. Bottles can be warmed. The buffet breakfasts have something for everyone and the nearest restaurants are 1.5km away. It's also possible to get takeaways.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Outdoor playground with Wendy house, sandpit and various toys and a shaded climbing frame and slide for older kids
  • Resident animals include a donkey and dogs
  • Children's DVDs (TV in guest lounge)
  • Eco-friendly swimming pool with shallow end
  • Playroom with toys and (mainly Portuguese) childrens books
  • Swings on the cork tree

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Great family-friendly beaches nearby (Amoriera, Monte Clerigo and Odeciexe) 20-30 minutes' drive
  • Good walking with wildlife-spotting opportunities

Families Should Know:

Mobile phone signal can be a little hit and miss at the property; the closest shop for nappies etc is 1.5km away in Aljezur

Distances:

  • Airport: Just over 1 hour
  • Medical attention: 10 minutes
  • Nearest shop: 5 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Location

Muxima is just inland from the southwest coast of Portugal, 3 minutes by road from the small town of Aljezur.

By Air
The nearest airport is Faro (100km). You could also fly to Lisbon (238km) or to Sevilla in Spain (314km), both approx 3-4 hours' drive from Muxima. Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving these airports.

From the Airport
When travelling from Faro Airport, most people hire a car (see below) and drive down the motorway towards Aljezur. It takes just over an hour, but beware of the tolls.

By Car
Muxima is quite remote so you will probably want to hire a car. Bear in mind that the property is accessed via a track when choosing your vehicle - see our car rental recommendations.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

More on getting to Portugal and getting around

Airports:

  • Faro 100.0 km FAO
  • Lisbon 234.0 km

Other:

  • Beach 6.0 km
  • Shops 1.0 km
  • Restaurant 1.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 15 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
9/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

We absolutely loved our stay at Muxima! Paula and her beautiful family were so welcoming and made sure we had everything we needed and more! They even made a cake for my son’s 4th birthday, adorned with dinosaurs which they discovered he loved. The suite was beautiful and spotlessly clean, the biopool was a complete revelation and the beauty of the location is out of this world. Olivia does an amazing job with the breakfast every morning - a beautiful vegetarian and vegan spread that was so delicious that we each had at least three or four courses each morning!! A wonderful place.

10/10,

We loved friendly, unique and relaxing Muxima. The location in the national park is idyllic and it’s very close to a range of amazing beaches, though we were equally happy to walk through the woods, feed the donkey and swim with the frogs in the pool. We still miss the breakfasts! The owners are lovely and it was great to be part of their vision for a more sustainable approach to life. It is a magical place and we would love to go back.
All the recommendations for things to do nearby from the owners were spot on. There are a range of excellent restaurants and family friendly places to visit in the countryside and on the coast, so it’s a great place to explore Southern Portugal from. It is a not far from Lisbon, which is excellent to visit for a few days and easy to get to on train from the UK.

10/10,

Chilled out hideaway and perfect for families. Muxima is a very special place, the rural surroundings are fantastic but still within reach of beautiful beaches and the town of Aljezur. The eco pool was a a great hit with the children. Paula and Jelle were super friendly and made us feel very welcome and relaxed. We looked forward to the amazing varied dishes prepared each morning for breakfast. Thanks guys:)

10/10,

We loved the donkey, delighted in the vegetarian breakfast, adored the lily pond (complete with frogs!), loved exploring the extensive grounds, and really appreciated the ethos of the whole place. An exceptional place to stay. They gave us a room upgrade for our honeymoon, which we really loved and appreciated.

9/10,

The owners, Paula and Jelle, were lovely hosts, always available to answer questions about places to visit and where to eat (The Elska Kitchen--delicious creative organic food-- was our favourite).
As you arrive at Muxima you are envelopped by the nourishing scent of the eucalyptus trees--the whole setting is so peaceful and serene. It is a fabulous place to unwind, relax and enjoy the peace and quiet. Olivia, who served breakfast and created something special every morning for breakfast, was also a font of knowledge and full of tips etc.
We will certainly contemplate staying there again in the not too distant future.

10/10,

We found paradise in Muxima. What a beautiful place! Wonderful location, great hospitality, fantastic breakfast. We'll come back for sure!

10/10,

The loveliest of welcomes and warmest smiles in this tranquil and charming place. Jorge is the kindest and funniest host and really goes out of his way to look after you (lending me an umbrella to go to the beach "because of your skin" - a "bit" fair and freckly). Our family were in this lovely bungalow perched on the hill, walked to a delicious homemade breakfast..it was all just so idyllic. lovely natural pool too. Yes you need a relatively ok car to get up the track but its not too bad. We DID have difficulty finding it - DON'T use google maps/sat nav! If you have come from Faro his directions are probably good but from the north you MUST cross the bridge into town and follow road to Faro south out of town. Go past the camping sign on right and just before the 70kmh sign you will see a green wheelie bin - this is the track!

9/10,

A truly magical place. This gem of a hideout is in the middle of a forest, with an amazing host, very tastefully decorated rooms and location, and a delicious breakfast. It was the highlight of our stay. And then of course you have the Portugese people, beautiful beaches within 10-15min drive and great weather. We loved it

10/10,

What a wonderful place with good personal relations to hosts and employees. Thanks to some wind from the Sahara we could even gaze at the stars at night in October! The breakfast place is amazing - and the tapas bar nearby shouldn't be missed!

10/10,

A beautiful place to stay, peaceful family-run vibe, close to spectacular Atlantic beaches and with miles of pine and eucalyptus forest at the back door. Long lazy breakfasts a highlight.

10/10,

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